Etruscan Press
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  • Aurally rich, structurally varied and inventive, sensually textured, these are poems at once passionate and analytical, descriptive and meditative, lyrical and complex—poems that keep one eye on the moon while leveling their gaze at the self and its immediate world. With an alert nuanced intelligence, a sinuous flexible line, Moldaw’s poems turn swiftly and sharply, surprising us in their range and ease, their visionary core. While, in the quoted words of the painter Agnes Martin, “the mind knows what the eye has not seen,” Moldaw’s exact and sometimes challenging language bring eye and mind together, with revelatory transparency. A wild fire brings into focus her daughter’s unknown birth mother; a columbary outside the hospital window becomes a columbarium as she comes to terms with a friend’s dying of AIDS; tossing the I Ching coins affords the occasion for a long meditative sequence built on distilled moments; overheard piano music catalyzes a reverie of longing; Walter de Maria’s sculpture Lightning Field inspires a layered, penetrating rumination on art and life’s “multi-angled interrelationships.” Out of acutely observed, deeply felt particulars, Moldaw constructs poetry of imaginative daring that illuminates and transforms the life within us all, repeatedly achieving, to quote from The New Yorker, “lyric junctures of shivering beauty.”
  • Over the decades Heyen has most often thought, studied, and written about the Holocaust. His ground-breaking collection The Swastika Poems (Vanguard Press, 1977) was revised and expanded to Erika (1984). Thirteen more of these poems appear in Falling from Heaven (Time Being Books, 1991). Shoah Train collects more than seventy poems written over the last dozen years, lyrics of “discipline and honesty and courage and restraint,” as Archibald MacLeish described The Swastika Poems. Experiencing the new poems in Shoah Train, readers will find themselves in the voice-presence of one of our most important poets.

    Award

    [icon color="#dbb95c" size="14" type="icon-star" unit="px" ]2004 Finalist — National Book Award
  • "Shadows of Houses, H. L. Hix’s new collection, is both vatic and precise. Patiently looking at and through the quotidian, Hix registers the tiny and immense phenomena of change and variation the seasons and hours bring. The remarkable sequence 'The God of Window Screens and Honeysuckle' is a compendium of outer and inner weather—a naturalist’s, neighbor’s, philosopher’s, and poet’s almanac, and a source of wisdom and beauty I shall regularly return to.”—Rachel Hadas “Hix’s measured, crystalline particles of everyday life melt, moment by moment by moment, into song.”—Charles Bernstein
  • In September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond, more than 125 fiction writers, poets, and essayists offer a revelation of our collective psyche during a perilous time through searing memoirs, letters, poems, brief fictions, essays, a memorial service, and contributions beyond classification. Over time this anthology will surely remain one of our most crucial, challenging, and important. Included are Pulitzer Prize winning authors W. S. Merwin, Henry Taylor, and John Updike, National Book Award winners Ai and Lucille Clifton, former Poets Laureate Richard Wilbur and Robert Pinsky, and winners of others of our most distinguished awards who represent the spectrum of backgrounds, approaches, and attitudes that comprise the American literary landscape: Tess Gallagher, Ray Gonzalez, Kimiko Hahn, Joy Harjo, Denis Johnson, Erika Jong, Maxine Hong Kingston, Naomi Shihab Nye, Ishmael Reed, Scott Russell Sanders, Joanna Scott, Ruth Stone, John A. Williams, Terry Tempest Williams, and more than one hundred others. Most of the work in September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond appears here for the first time.
  • Saint Joe’s Passion seeks to reconcile the lyric with the narrative. In the tradition of Catullus’s love poems and Berryman’s The Dream Songs, the poems of Saint Joe’s Passion recount the lonely lecherous life of Joseph Johnstone–cancer patient, classical music DJ, former voice-talent. The poems swing back and forth from Joe’s hospital bed to moments of his past: a past of religion, little league baseball, music, and marital friction. The collection paints the portrait of a man who was never quite able to open himself up to genuine love and intimacy. “J. D. Schraffenberger’s first collection is an often dazzling projection of masks over and under other masks, voices parodying other voices, or interrupting them, or guiding them into unanticipated channels, as though these poems were randomly selected in a still-evolving script. It isn’t easy to say exactly what it all adds up to, but the adventurous reader should find the journey never less than engaging."—Charles Martin
  • In A Poetics of Hiroshima, William Heyen has broken through to face full square what has been working its way to surface through several of his highly-praised earlier books including Erika: Poems of the Holocaust and Shoah Train (Etruscan, 2003): the interfusions, in art and in our desire for art, of beauty and atrocity. Heyen’s lines claw their ways into an aesthetics of formful but obscene sound that may now be our century’s only viable, or possible, home. “A remarkable poet in whom the ‘visionary’ and the unblinkingly ‘historical’ are dramatically meshed. He writes with the wild, radiant audacity of the visionary; yet his eye and ear are sharp, unsparing.”—Joyce Carol Oates “William Heyen’s music and meditations continue to amaze. I’ve now read and absorbed all the poems of A Poetics of Hiroshima. I am not ready to write anything about them, except to express my awe.”—Cynthia Ozick
  • In Bruce Bond’s seventh book, we see a sustained exploration of mortality and its embodiment in the consolations of beauty, most notably in music. “The poems in Bruce Bond’s collection Peal probe music’s deepest sources. These beautifully crafted lyrics lead us down into intricate and sonorous paths where we meet out own uncertain songs, at once ghostly, elegiac, and ecstatic. This is a work of exquisite complexity by one of our best poets writing today.”—Molly Bendall “The speculative drive of these poems pushes the reader to the very limits of reflection.”—Daniel Tiffany
  • Michael Lind’s poems rather stand apart from most of what’s published these days, one reason being that his range of experience goes beyond the purely academic or literary into the realm of domestic and foreign policy. His reading, furthermore, puts him in a congenial relationship with Latin and Greek literature, witness his brilliant use of alcaic meters in the poem "Maragheh and Alamut." Everywhere in this singularly distilled book you will find instances of special astuteness with respect to content, form, and imagery."
  • Set simultaneously in the farm country of Wisconsin and a small mining town in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado during the nineteenth century, the new novel by Peter Grandbois follows the lives of three brothers as each strives to re-create himself despite the forces that work to determine his identity. Though told from the point-of-view of many characters, the novel revolves around Killian, the oldest of the three, as he attempts to recapture a childhood as ephemeral as a dream. While Killian’s brother Henry strives to make the town prosperous and his brother Eli prays to maintain the town’s spiritual center, it becomes clear as the novel progresses that the center will not hold. Violence, lust, and greed tear at the fabric of the town until the only possibility for healing arrives in the form of a snowfall that lasts for three months, burying the town. It is here events take a surreal turn as individual identity collapses. Nahoonkara, an Ute Indian word that means, “land of the rising blue,” offers a place outside our preconceived notions of reality and identity, a place where we are free to re-imagine ourselves. “The amazing and masterful thing [in Nahoonkara] is the way that Grandbois ties this very personal, family story to the larger narrative of American expansion; it’s not overt, but we see clearly how individual pain leads to national empire.”—Kel Munger, Colorado Springs Independent Newspaper

    Award

    [icon color="#dbb95c" size="16" type="icon-star" unit="px" ]Winner of the Gold Medal for Best Literary Fiction of the Year (ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards)
  • “In this strong debut novel, Schwartz takes a hard look at the dark secrets hiding within a marriage. Depressed over the death of her mother six months before, Jane Rosen, a stay-at-home mom of three girls and longtime wife to busy, self-absorbed rabbi Saul, finally flies down to her mother’s long-empty Florida house to put her affairs in order. There, Jane finds evidence of a mother she never knew, while Saul contends with the girls—in particular unhappy, fragile 16-year-old Malkah—and a dying congregant’s bombshell confession, that he had an affair with Jane 10 years before. Shocked and wounded, Saul tells Jane not to come home, leaving her to pursue her mother’s secret life. Soon, Jane’s caught up with a gardener who traps her in a spider web of drugs, sex and secrets. At home, Malkah’s descent into depression and Saul’s compounding fury push the family toward tragedy. Though readers may feel the couple is let too easily off the hook, Schwartz pursues both threads of the story unflinchingly to the end.”Publishers Weekly
  • “Hix has written the most important poetic sequences published by an American poet during the last several decades. He is the most interesting American poet writing today, the least predictable and the most challenging.”—David Caplan, Pleiades Legible Heavens explores what the most intimate forms of experience reveal about our most cosmic concerns, and vice versa. Its four sequences act like compass points to orient a human landscape. On one axis, “Star Chart for the Rainy Season” laments love lost, appealing to the biblical assertion that “love is stronger than death, and passion more cruel,” in contrast to “Material Implication,” which celebrates love found, in sonnets of desire insistently “glowing against the dusk.” On the other axis, “All the One-Eyed Boys in Town” treats love as perdition, the speaker imagining his life as “a match scratched down your wingbones,” in contrast to “Synopsis,” which treats love as salvation, reinscribing the biblical gospels (canonical and apocryphal alike) to “solicit a miracle I must not expect.”
  • H. L. Hix’s Incident Light explores a life that became “instantly mythical” after a startling revelation. The artist Petra Soesemann learned at age forty-nine that the dad who had raised her from birth was not her biological father. Her dad had died some years before; her father was still alive. Her dad, like her mother, was a blue-eyed German blond; her father was Turkish, with dark eyes and dark hair like Petra’s own. Incident Light is a biography: not an ordered account of the facts of a life, but an invitation into the dad’s devotion, the mother’s passion, the father’s honor, and especially into the daughter’s own embracing of her experience, newly understood. Incident Light testifies to the many lives that converge on one life to lend it beauty and mystery. “Hix’s eighth collection is a fine addition to this protean poet’s fast-growing (and critically lauded) body of work. Like C.D. Wright, Hix works both with highly wrought descriptive passages and with verse that sounds like regular speech cutting swiftly between them.”Publishers Weekly, starred review “Any new book by this inventive poet is cause for excitement.”—The Kansas City Star
  • In his latest novel, Matthews returns to the 1850s, the time of his novel, Sassafras (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1983). In The Gambler’s Nephew, the reader will enter a world of slavery, abolitionist passion, murder, hypocrisy, grave-robbery, chicanery, holiness, memory, guilt and plain old-fashioned cussedness. It’s a politically incorrect world of unrepentant capital punishment, when there were plenty of scoundrels just asking to be hanged by the neck until dead, thus coming as close as they could ever get to being civilized. In contrast, however, the reader will come upon the beauty and grandeur of the old steamboats plying the Ohio River, along with people troubled by such grand irrelevancies as love and tenderness. In short, The Gambler’s Nephew brings us a world as richly confused as our own—familiar yet different . . . and as alive as living can get.
  • The Fugitive Self: New and Selected Poems by John Wheatcroft is a tribute to a distinguished career spanning fifty years in American letters. At once meditative, whimsical, and hard-hitting, it illuminates the spiritual cost of American expansion. ". . . With 'more shapes than water' and 'more selves than the Trinity,' these poems explore the music of love and the weight of grief, while always being mindful of 'history in the making—brutal, bloody, bootless.' Here is a lifetime of poetry, a treasure house of what art can aspire to. With consummate skill, Wheatcroft probes the world for what won’t be sentimentalized, falsified, and is willing to embrace nothing, if that’s the final truth—but 'nothing' has never been so alive, moving, passionate, and compelling.”—Betsy Sholl
  • A poet of international acclaim, Milton Kessler published five books of poetry during his lifetime. Kessler received numerous awards and distinctions, including a Robert Frost Fellowship, an Edward MacDowell Foundation Fellowship, and a National Endowment Program Grant. Several years ago, one of his poems, “Thanks Forever,” was chosen to appear in London subway cars to be seen by as many as two million riders a day as part of the “Poems on the Underground” project. Milton Kessler died in April 2000, leaving behind a manuscript of new work. Free Concert: New and Selected Poems celebrates the life and work of a gifted poet of original voice, collecting work from each of his books together with his new poems. “A lyricist capable of lovely and musical effects.”—Elizabeth Bishop “Kessler’s sharp phrases catch the motion, textures, and strange, beautiful voices of a physical world we live in but never fully know.”—Camille Paglia

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